Thursday, January 27, 2011 “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 11 more “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 11 more

Link to

Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]

Posted: 26 Jan 2011 11:21 PM PST


Check out the top picks from MakeUseOf Geeky Fun during the last week.

  1. Xbros Believe Vs. Reality (Pic)
  2. Suing the Internet (Pic)
  3. Creative Plastic Surgery Ad Using Emoticons (Pic)
  4. iWater: Clean. Simple. Wet. (Pic)
  5. Grandma On Facebook (Pic)
  6. Laptop Kamasutra (Pic)
  7. "Computer Science" (Pic)

If you would like to keep up with all latest Geeky Fun additions, please subscribe to the Geeky Fun feed here. You can also subscribe and get the latest additions via email.


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Cool Websites and Tools [January 26th]

Posted: 26 Jan 2011 07:31 PM PST

Check out some of the latest MakeUseOf discoveries. All listed websites are FREE or come with a decent free account option. You can make use of them without spending a dime. If you want to have similar cool websites round-ups delivered to your email daily email subscribe here.

Add Your Website Here!


Network Maps – People who used the Internet in the 1990s know that internet connections have come a long way. NetworkMaps is an interactive map by the BBC that helps understand that by showing the growth of network cables and internet usage from 1998 to 2010. The map shows the percentage of people using the internet for each country. Read more: NetworkMaps: View Internet Growth Statistics On Interactive Map


MessageHop – A special message of advice or hope can easily brighten the day of your loved ones. With the help of MessageHop you can simply create such messages online and share them with people important to you. MessageHop's basic purpose is to help you create cool messages for friends and loved ones. You are given a white canvas where you can add text and photographs. Read more: MessageHop: Create Cool Messages for Your Friends & Loved Ones



Tab Bundles – is a wonderful URL shortening service. In addition to shortening individual URLs, you can use to bundle together multiple URLs and get a shortened URL for the bundle. An easy and fast way to do this is through Tab Bundles, an extension for Google Chrome. After it is installed, its icon rests in Chrome's address bar. By clicking on this icon, all URLs opened in the browser tabs are transported over to your account. Read more: Tab Bundles: Copy Tab URLs To Using Custom Filters (Chrome Extension)



Pentagram – How much significance can you attach to type? Does Gotham signify certain personality traits that Gilli Sans doesn't? What are those and how are they related? Pentagram is a fun little video-based tool that lets you find out. It helps you answer the question "What Type Are You?" by asking certain personality trait questions and in the end providing a recommendation. Read more: Pentagram: Find Out What Type You Are



National Stolen Art File – The FBI recently revamped its website. Now on the site there is a dedicated online index for all art-related thefts and robberies. This index is called NSAF: National Stolen Art File, the FBI's public online index of all US thefts and robberies of art items such as books, carpets, guns, antiques, etc. Read more: National Stolen Art File: FBI's Database Of Stolen Art


These are just half of the websites that we discovered in the last couple of days. If you want us to send you daily round-ups of all cool websites we come across, leave your email here. Or follow us via RSS feed.

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InClass – The Perfect Agenda App For College Students [iOS]

Posted: 26 Jan 2011 05:31 PM PST

agenda appMany college terms will be starting around this time or even earlier so this application will come in extremely handy. If you’re a college student or know someone who is in school, and you own an iDevice, be sure to check out InClass [iTunes link]. Once you download this free app, you’ll have a daily planner and a notebook for each class, without having to lug around the actual physical books, although you can certainly use them in addition to this app.

InClass was featured in Apple’s College Survival Guide, where it stands as one of the few free apps. Other free productivity apps worth mentioning from the list would be the Wunderlist task managing app [iTunes link], Evernote [iTunes link], iBooks [iTunes link], Siri Assistant [iTunes link] and Rate My Professors [iTunes link], among other entertainment and lifestyle apps. Let’s see what makes InClass incredibly useful for keeping track of your classes.

Take Text & Multimedia Notes

Since InClass is available for the iPad, you can use it as a notebook and reading app, which will make your backpack a lot lighter. Not many students will have an iPad, but if you own an iPhone or even an iPod Touch, you can also make great use of this app as an agenda and even notebook.

agenda app

With this app, you’ll be able to record the audio for your lecture (and multitask too!), as well as video capture and take photos of the whiteboard or handouts. You can set whether or not to capture the audio and video in high quality (and HD video) in the Settings, but they’re off by default to save space. InClass will know to associate the multimedia and text files with the class.

agenda application

If you take pictures, you can also print them directly from the app or share them on Facebook if you want to connect your account. If your classmates use InClass, you can also share your notes (which are a special InClass file type) with them. You can also email each individual note, and export your notes via iTunes File Sharing or back them up, which you can later open in InClass if, say, you’re changing devices, and you’ll still get all of your notes, tasks and classes.

Here’s what an emailed note looks like.

agenda application

See Your Classes & Tasks For The Day In The Schedule

agenda application

In the Schedule tab, you get a smart view of what classes and homework you have for that day. You can also get a monthly view of upcoming classes and color-coded tasks.

There’s also a professors tab where you can input the contact information for each class’s instructor, which could save you from having to keep the syllabus around.

student agenda program

You can also take a picture of the syllabus or convert the PDF to an image to keep in your Photos library, so you can insert that file in your InClass notes.

Get Reminder Alerts For Tasks/Homework & Classes

You can set alarms in InClass, which can remind you of upcoming classes and tasks so you’re constantly on top of your schedule.

student agenda program

You can even set the badge icon to show you how many tasks you have due for the week or for the next two weeks.

agenda app

Overall, InClass will make keeping track of your classes, homework and syllabi much easier and simply shines for the value.

Do you prefer physical agendas or like to just use your phone as a planner? Let us know what you think in the comments section.

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Socially – A Social Networking Tool For Symbian & Android Phones

Posted: 26 Jan 2011 03:31 PM PST

social networking toolsThere’s no shortage of social networking tools to update your various social networks when you’re on the go, with many manufacturers bundling their own with the handset itself. Socially is just another one of those apps and one which probably isn’t going to cause much of a storm on Android devices. Symbian users will probably find it a refreshing change with a few nifty features you don’t really see from the usual line-up of networking apps.

Socially is completely free and under active development, Facebook support is provided in the latest version (3.01 beta) although you’ll have to stick to the stable build if you want to use Foursquare.

Socially Adept

There is (planned, depending on your handset) support for the “big 4″ social networks built into Socially – Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and the location-aware Foursquare. The limited choice suited my needs quite nicely, especially since there’s a lack of decent Foursquare applications for Symbian phones.

Adding a network is done via the usual methods. On first load Socially will display a list of available networks, and then ask you to authenticate the application to allow access to your chosen service.

social networking tools

Once you’ve validated your login, your feeds will be delivered straight to your phone and you can post updates, send messages, add location to Twitter and Foursquare and so on.

internet as a social networking tool

The interface is clean, attractive and works well on a touchscreen thanks to the well-sized tab headings and buttons. The application’s idle screen serves as an overview of recent updates from your connected services and is also the screen used to compose a new update.

internet as a social networking tool

Luckily you can choose to post an update to multiple networks at once, although if you’re like me and never update Linked In you’ll have to uncheck it each time (which is slightly annoying). There’s also no autocomplete for Twitter or Facebook usernames, though I’m not aware of any Symbian app that includes this (probably due to the botched S60 text input).

Handset Integration

Socially is able to integrate and sync certain features with your handset itself. Basic push notifications are available and customizable (so you can ignore Facebook and just listen in on Twitter if you like) and appear on your phone’s idle screen.

internet as a social networking tool

I really liked this, as I have noticed a distinct lack of social apps with built-in support for notifications on the Symbian platform. I’m assuming many Android users won’t bat an eyelid as much of this is standard for their handsets and operating system.

There is also the option to query social information for any incoming calls, which means you’ll see the caller’s latest tweet or status update (not that it matters all that much).

social networking tools

Socially also has the ability to sync Facebook photos with your contacts list and the slightly more useful option of adding Facebook friends’ birthdays to your phone’s in-built calendar. You’ll also notice Socially popping up in various parts of your phone, including contacts.

Socially scans networking sites and links any of your contacts to their respective social profiles. There is also the ability to view your normal phone contacts via the app itself, and both of these options are a nice touch.

Conclusion or How I Learned To Stop Worrying & Love The Beta

As I mentioned previously there are currently two versions of Socially – the stable and the beta. You can find download instructions on the website here. Whilst being largely stable (I haven’t experienced any crashes yet) the Beta does sacrifice Foursquare support for the time being.

That said I was told I needed to update from stable to beta to use Facebook. My phone is a Symbian S60v5 touch Sony Ericsson Satio, so if you’ve got the same handset bear this in mind. There’s a list of officially supported handsets here.

Socially is a promising little social networking tool that is on the cusp of excellence. It’s not cluttered with social networks I don’t (and won’t ever) use, the interface is an absolute joy to use, and everything’s beautifully presented to boot.

If you’re not afraid of software that still needs work, are searching for a good social app (probably for Symbian) and like social network integration then Socially is certainly worth keeping a very close eye on.

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Using The MSN Hotmail Member Directory To Find Your Friends

Posted: 26 Jan 2011 01:31 PM PST

msn hotmail member directoryFor many years, anyone with a Hotmail account would go to and access their email accounts in much the same way that you currently access Gmail. People become accustomed to the way Hotmail looked and felt, and it remained that way for a long time. However, in recent years, Microsoft started dramatically revamping the look and feel of Hotmail, so that many users have lost track of the things they used to have memorized, like accessing the MSN Hotmail Member Directory, for example.

Here at MUO, we’ve covered Hotmail a number of times. Jack wrote about how to access Hotmail messages from your Gmail account and Tim explained how to make your Hotmail email account more secure.

If you are one of those Hotmail users that has lost track of the MSN Hotmail Member Directory, I’m going to help you find it again, and also show you how to make better use of it to find your long lost friends.

Hotmail Is Part Of Windows Live

The first thing that the majority of readers will likely already know (so it shouldn’t be news) is that Hotmail is no longer just MSN Hotmail, but instead it’s now Windows Live Hotmail. This means that the MSN Hotmail member directory that people were so accustomed to is now the Windows Live member directory.

msn hotmail member directory

The problem with the new Windows Live Hotmail system is that it’s not really apparent how to get to the public member directory. When you’re logged into your Hotmail email account, you can access the member directory by clicking on “Contacts” in the left navigation bar. Most people assume that “Contacts” only means your own personal contacts, but this is in fact the starting point to find the public directory.

msn hotmail members

Within your Contacts page, you’ll see a link to “Add people” in the left menu. Over the past few years, like many other social networks, Microsoft has been busy cloning the Facebook model. You’ll find that the entire Windows Live social network system looks and feels a lot like Facebook, right down to the public status updates and how you connect with friends. The first step is to choose what privacy level you want to set your Windows Live account.

msn hotmail members

Once you’ve done that, you’ll find yourself in the Windows Live member directory search page. Here, you can import friends from your other social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, or your Gmail account.  To search through the massive member directory for any long-lost friends, you’ll need to click on “Search for people.”

msn hotmail members

Now, you’re finally on the Member Directory search page. This is much like doing a Facebook search to find your family or friends on the Internet in that you can search by their name, employer, school or a number of other search methods. If you’ve been looking for lost friends or family and couldn’t find them on Facebook, you could very well find them on Windows Live, since it is currently one of the largest email systems online.

msn hotmail

Type in the name of the friend you’re looking for and you’ll get back the results of everyone on Windows Live with the matching name. Just like on Facebook, you’ll see any location, educational or employment information that the person made public. These details should help you better identify whether that person is the friend you’ve been searching for.

msn hotmail

Once you find them, the similarity to Facebook really comes out. You can invite the person to become one of your Windows Live “friends”. This allows them to see your updates and details, and lets them see yours. It also adds them to your contact list in Windows Live Messenger and any other Windows Live social apps that you use.

msn hotmail

Another similarity to Facebook People search is the ability to dig through the MSN Hotmail member directory using a list of “variables,” including gender, location, education, and even interests. Not only is it a good way to find long lost friends, but it’s also a cool way to discover people that share your interests and potentially make new friends.

The one thing that really surprised me was when I started exploring the personal pages of some of the Windows Live users. Interestingly, the individual Windows Live pages are laid out a lot like Facebook pages. It’s pretty clear that Microsoft is trying to utilize the same layout as Facebook – catering to an online community that clearly prefers a social network where you post status updates and follow your friends’ updates.

msn hotmail member directory

It was also shocking to me that, just like on Facebook, people are so willing to offer their very private information. For example, I found one user (the one above) that provided her home and mobile phone numbers and her email address, to  the public Windows Live network!

Such a large member directory that’s publicly accessible to anyone with a Windows Live account makes it an excellent resource to find your friends. It may not be easy to find the member directory search page, but once you sign up for a Windows Live Hotmail account and follow the steps above, you can start searching as much as you like.

Have you used the Hotmail directory to “discover” any lost friends? Do you use the Windows Live social network? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.

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Hot Tech Deals [Jan 26th]

Posted: 26 Jan 2011 12:15 PM PST

If you’re in the market for a new computer, laptop, mobile phone, games and other accessories; don’t waste your time searching online. We’ve taken the liberty of locating the best tech deals and unifying them into a single post for your convenience.

For more fresh hot deals, visit our Hot Tech Deals page, which is constantly updated.

  1. EXPIRING LG 37LE5300 37in LED-Edgelit LCD HDTV (1080p, 120Hz) $599.99 Free Ship via code EMCKJHK25 (Exp 1/26)
  2. EXPIRING Nokia N8 16GB Smartphone (Unlocked, Quad-Band GSM, 12MP Camera, HD Video, GPS) $409 Free Shipping via code EMCKJHK46 (Exp 1/26)
  3. TODAY ONLY HP V165w 16GB USB Flash Drive $12.99AR Free Shipping
  4. TODAY ONLY Sony CyberShot DSC-S2100 12MP 3X Digital Camera $69.99 Free Shipping
  5. Dell ST2220M 22in LED-Backlit LCD Monitor (1920×1080) $139.99 Free Shipping
  6. Sennheiser CX 380 Sport Headphones $19.99 Free Shipping
  7. HP Photosmart Plus B210a Color Inkjet All-in-One Printer (ePrint from anywhere w/ AirPrint) $88.99

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set



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8 Websites That Give You Tips On Job Interview Questions and Answers

Posted: 26 Jan 2011 11:31 AM PST

interview questions and answersFacing a job interview board probably comes right below public speaking on a fear list. Many of us liken it to a third-degree interrogation. But heck, do a few and you’ll find it's not too bad at all. Every veteran interviewee will tell you that being prepared is half the battle won. A technical interview might be a different ball game though.

Sometimes, the most matter of fact questions can knock you off kilter. The ‘tell me about yourself’ interview ice-breaker makes the ‘most difficult interview questions’ list quite often. A smart off the cuff answer works, but it works better if you have the answer prepared.

If preparation is the key, browse through these eight interview websites and bulletproof your job search with the wealth of technical and non-technical interview questions and answers listed there.


interview questions and answers

Careercup is a resource of tech interview questions from companies like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and a lot of others. The site was started in 2005, so to date the bank of questions is 3,000 strong. You can trawl through the questions by using the dropdown for Companies, Job Titles, and Topics. The answers and solutions are supplied by the community of readers. You can add your own interview questions and also engage with others in the chat room.


job interview questions

We have featured this free career website and community before but it was as a salary comparison tool. Since then, the site has come out of beta and developed into a deeper microscope for the job market with company reviews, salary comparisons, and interview tips. The site lists interview questions across the spectrum of job listings from sales to technology. The site is well organized with each company getting a page that starts with an overview and hives off into details like interview difficulty rating, questions asked, and other information like background checks, interview schedules, etc. It's definitely is one of the better job information sites out there.


job interview questions

The go-to site for career and job listing information has a well covered career advice section with a section devoted to interviewing. Check out all the articles listed under The Tough Questions. A few hints from How to Answer Five Difficult Interview Questions and 100 Potential Interview Questions should help you ace any interview.

Job Search (

job interview questions

The wide variety of guides on is always more than useful. It's the same with the roll of interview questions and best answers for each of them. Follow all the links and check them out.

Management Consulting Case Interviews

interview questions

We move away from all the general and technical interview websites with this one. As the name says, the site is all about in-depth interview questions for those who are interested in getting into management consulting. The case studies are arranged by type, industry, and consulting firm.

Xor Swap

interview questions

The technical interview website is simple in looks but its list of actual interview questions asked by IT companies could be more than useful. Each question also has the answer and you can add your own. Filter the questions against the company using the list of companies on the right.

Geek Interview

interview questions

The site of course, has a nicely laid out interview preparation section with a lot of questions for the software programmer or coder. The site leans towards the Indian IT scene but the questions should be universal for an IT interview. The site also has tutorials on technology, tech articles, career related articles, job postings, certification questions and guides, online tests and other study aids.

Common Interview

interview questions and answers

The website with a barebones search engine-like interface is actually a dynamic, community driven collection of most common general purpose and technical interview questions. The search box gave me a bunch of unrelated results (the Advanced Search targets them better), so I guess it's better to use the menu on the top. Not all questions have answers but the collection of interview questions and answers is quite large.

Armed with the best answers, you can further polish your interview tackling skills with 5 Sites with Job Interview Tips to Help You Ace Your Interview or take the visual route with 5 Video Channels for Learning Basic Job Interview Skills. As you prepare for the next ‘blind date’ with the job board, let us know about the toughest interview question you ever had to counter.

Image: Shutterstock

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PAC: Easily Create Your Own Portable Apps – No Programming Knowledge Required [Windows]

Posted: 26 Jan 2011 10:31 AM PST

portable app creatorAs computer users shift their lifestyle from using one static desktop in one place to using multiple computers from multiple locations – while keeping their data mobile inside USB drives - portable apps rise in popularity. The concept of portable apps gives you the convenience of always having all of your favorite applications all of the time without the trouble of installing them on every computer you use. Just put them on your USB thumb drive, and you are good to go.

You can begin building your portable apps collection by going through the list on this article: 100 Portable Apps for your USB Stick, by visiting PortableApps, or by using a search engine. Most popular applications (and some of the not-so popular ones) are available as portable apps, so there are plenty for you to play with. But if you can’t find the ones that you need, you can build your own. The adventurous types can try the manual way, while the more practical types can use PAC – Portable App Creator.

Compiling The Application

Creating a portable app is basically collecting all the elements of an installed application – which are normally scattered on different locations on your computer – into one place, so that it can be used on different computers. That’s exactly what portable app creator will help you to do.

It seems that the original developer of PAC has long abandoned the project. So the one that we are going to use is the modified version by a PAC user. To download the latest version of the app (v. 0.97.3 beta), visit the site, and scroll down to the lower part of the page (the comment section) to find the download link.

After you download and extract the zip file, open the PAC Compiler. This application will build the ‘real’ application: Portable Application Creator. To do so, PAC Compiler needs a file called autoit-v3-sfx.exe and will scan your drive for it. If it can’t find the needed file, it will ask you to download the file from the Internet.

portable app creator

After that, PAC Compiler will build PAC.

create portable app

It will appear on the same folder as the compiler.

create portable app

Creating A Portable App

Now let’s start building our portable application(s). Run PAC and tell it which drive is the portable drive.

create portable app

Plug in your portable drive and find out the drive letter. Go back to PAC, choose the letter and click “Next“.

how to create a portable program

The next step will be locating the installer file of the application that you want to turn into a portable app. The PAC documentation mentions that the applications should be something that you’ve never installed before in your hard drive.

how to create a portable program

Continue the process by clicking “Install Application“.

how to create a portable program

PAC will remind you to install the app in your portable drive.


When the installer starts, it will ask you where to install the app. Browse and choose your portable device as the place to install the app.


After the installation process is finished, click the “Browse” button to locate the installed app on your portable drive. Click “Next” to continue.


Go through the steps one by one until the last one: “Process Shots“. Click “Next” to continue.


Click “Done” to complete the process, and your portable app is ready.

portable app creator

Using Portable Apps

If you peek into your portable device, you should find two folders: the application folder, and “PAC_Launchers” folder. To run the portable app, you should not open it from the application folder, but from the shortcut located inside the PAC_Launchers folder.

If you want to move/copy your portable app to another location, you should include both the application folder and the PAC_Launchers folder. I’ve tried this, and everything went well. I created a portable application of a game that I recently purchased, played the game on different computers, and then copied the portable app and PAC_Launchers folders to another USB drive. When I opened the game from a different USB drive, the game continued where I left off.

Please note that portable app creator will not always work on every application. The documentation states that PAC can’t create portable apps out of applications that require a “real restart” of your system during the installation process. Since there are some apps which ask for a system restart when they actually don’t need one, you just have to try creating the portable apps to see whether the process will be successful or not.

If the applications that you want to convert into portable apps are already installed on your system, you could try uninstalling them first before turning them into portable apps.

Are you a portable apps user? Have you tried to create your own portable apps? Do you use other portable app makers? Share your experiences using the comments below.

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10 Free Productivity Apps In The New Mac App Store

Posted: 26 Jan 2011 09:31 AM PST

free productivity appsSince I started using and reviewed Apple’s new App Store for the Mac, I’ve revisited the place several times looking for gems and useful time saving productivity applications for my day-to-day tasks.

The Mac App Store definitely simplifies the process of discovering new applications, and it goes a step further by making it super fast to download programs straight to your Application’s folder. No copying from dmg files or dragging and dropping from one folder to the next. On top of all that you can upgrade your Mac App Store apps from within the same Mac App Store application.

If you haven’t upgraded your Mac OS X to version 10.6.6 (free), I strongly encourage you to do so, for even if you don’t have the money to splurge right now on applications, there are several free productivity apps in the store you’ll want to download and have on hand when you need them. Here are a few of my favorites.

Whistle Phone

While we all know that it’s easy to make free Skype-to-Skype user phone calls on our Mac computer, there’s still another option – another free phone number! – for making phone calls via Wi-Fi. It’s called Whistle Phone.

free productivity apps

This little gem allows you to make free inbound and outbound calls in the continental U.S. If you can put up with a simple 10-second ad, you can make these phone calls for free. You can also set up the application to forward Whistle calls to any phone number via its Follow Me service feature. It includes several other useful features, and the setup is easy.

Time Out Free

If you’re a Mac user who is glued to your computer all day, you’ll know that regularly tearing yourself away from the screen and your work is essential. If you don’t have the discipline to take needed breaks, Time Out Free can help you. Jackson featured this app before in his article How To Be More Productive By Taking Breaks [Mac Only]

personal productivity software for mac

I’ve used this program off and on for well over a year, and although it’s not the most attractive application on the block, it does the job of getting you off the computer – that is, if you let it.

After your break times are configured, Time Out Free slowly dims your screen so that you can at least get up to take a stretch. If you’re a hardcore Mac user, you can snooze your set break times and keep on working. You can also configure for mini stretch breaks to occur say every thirty minutes or so. After you download the app, you will discover a few other little features for how Time Out Free will help you make your break time a useful activity. Hint: iTunes.

Remind Me Later

One of the long-time questions I’ve had about Apple’s iCal is why must we users open the entire application in order to add a simple reminder or event? I still have not got an answer to that question, but at least there are a few free third-party productivity apps that attempt to make the process easier. A free one in the App Store is called Remind Me Later.

personal productivity software for mac

This little program resides in your menu bar and it can also be activated by an assigned keyboard shortcut. It just takes two clicks to quickly add a reminder or event to your iCal. You don’t even have to use number dates. You simply write something like, “Article due tomorrow, 12pm.” Done.

Translator Free

If you have ever downloaded a website written in a foreign language, you will know how much of a hassle it is to translate the content using Google. Well, Translator Free uses Google as well, but they have simplified the process.

personal productivity software for mac

Just select the language you want to translate a webpage into, drag the URL onto the Translator icon in your menu bar, and voila, the content gets translated. It can’t get any simpler than that.


If you find yourself copying files from say your desktop Mac to your laptop on a regular basis – or visa versa - DropCopy makes the process swift and easy.

productivity apps

You don't have to fuss with passwords, dialogs, and confirmations, just drop the files into the app and presto they appear at your designated location.

Stone Hill Time Card

Another nice little productivity gem in the App Store is Stone Hill Time Card. When you activate and set up a project, this Time Card app keeps track of how much time it took to complete the task or job.

productivity apps

This app doesn't track the time of each application you use (see Slife for that), but it could be useful for simply keeping track of the time you're spending to get jobs done.


Another logging application in the App Store is aptly called, PhoneLog. It allows you to log phone calls you have made, including adding information about whom you called and what the call was about.


PhoneLog is not for someone who needs an automated process for logging phone calls, but it's useful for occasions when you're making say a service call for a household repair, or when you need to keep notes during a phone interview. You can also save all your logs.


If you often make video tutorials using video screen capturing apps like Jing or QuickTime Player, then FGDesktopLoupe may be of use to you. It simply dims your monitor screen and presents a spotlight beam that follows your mouse pointer to focus on designated areas of your screen.

productivity apps

You can use the CTRL-ALT to open the settings window and Command-ALT to toggle the dimmer effect on and off.


Okay, only graphic designers will understand the usefulness of Littlelpsum. It simply provides you with dummy fill-in text for when you're designing websites or text layouts.


The app resides in your menu bar, and when you hold your cursor over the icon, it starts to generate words or paragraphs of fake text and copies it to the clipboard. In turn, you paste the “text” where you need it.


If you use Kindle or the Kindle app on your mobile device for reading, you will definitely want to download the desktop Kindle version for your Mac.

free productivity apps

I reviewed the earlier version here. The recent update is better designed with faster downloading. Even if you don't like reading ebooks on your Mac, the desktop version offers some useful features, such as accessing your book annotations, that you can't get in the mobile iOS version. Hey, it's free, so you might as well download it.

There are several other free Mac gems over in the App Store, so let us know about the ones you have downloaded. Your comments are a great way to recognize and thank developers for providing their programs for free.

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HTML5games: A Directory Of Flash-Free Browser Based Games

Posted: 26 Jan 2011 08:31 AM PST

browser based gamesFind fun games to play in your browser, without the use of flash. Whether you’re sick of flash causing your system to crash or you’re the proud owner of an iPad or another flash-free device, HTML5games can point you to browser based games that don’t need Adobe’s omnipresent media technology in order to operate.

Free online games you can play in your browser used to be almost all powered by Adobe’s Flash. On today’s Internet however, games based on a new, open standard are beginning to emerge. HTML5games provides a great starting point for those wanting a look at what HTML5 can do in terms of gaming.


Head over to HTML5games and you’ll find a familar feel. Browse for games by category, or click one of the top recommended games to see what can be found.

browser based games

None of the games in question are hosted by the site. Instead, the site acts as a sort of index of games from around the web built entirely using HTML5.

There’s even a “mobile” category, perfect for people using a smartphone. This is particularly nice because many smartphones on the market have no support for Flash, so check the mobile category out.


So, are there any good games? Yes, in fact. You can get started with Tank World, a 3D game impressively made entirely in HTML5.

free browser games

Want to practice your typing? Why not give Ztype a try? This game is a bit like Space Invaders, but with words descending on you instead of alien ships. Type the words to blow them up! The sound effects and music here are really quite fun.

free browser games

RAPT, or “Robots Are People Too”, is a platformer worth giving a shot. In it you control two different robots, making this a challenging single player game. Alternatively, play with a friend and share the load.

browser based games

There are many more browser based games here, but I suggest checking them all out yourself. Recommend any good games below!

Recommended Browsers

HTML5 being relatively new, you’re going to want an up-to-date browser to play these games. I highly recommend Google Chrome, although newer versions of Safari and Firefox work fairly well. If you’re an IE user, however, upgrade to the IE 9 beta or switch browsers to get the most out of these games.


So why should anyone care what a browser based game is made of? Good question. It’s basically a question of the direction the Internet will head toward. For a long time multimedia content was provided by Adobe’s proprietary Flash protocol. This program, an extension installed on pretty much every computer accessing the Internet in the past 15 years, gave the web capabilities it otherwise wouldn’t have had. The result, however, was one company having control of the format that makes music, videos and games on the web possible. Many, including Apple’s Steve Jobs, feel that no one company should have that much control.

Feel free to read more about HTML5, to get a better idea of what this all means.

Do you care what platform your games run on? Do you think it’s cool that the web is increasingly using open protocols? Share your thoughts in the comments below, as always, and feel free to point out more cool games!

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CheckPoints – Earn Cool Stuff By Checking In & Scanning Products With Your Phone

Posted: 26 Jan 2011 07:31 AM PST

cell phone barcode scanIf you’ve been following the recent articles I’ve written here, you should be used to checking into places with your phone by now. In fact, you should already be familiar with services like Foursquare and Gowalla - and up-and-comers like Glympse. You should also be an expert at finding bars and drink specials by now. You might even know how to check into your favorite movies and TV shows with GetGlue, if you’ve been paying attention.

Next up on my list is a service called CheckPoints. The premise is very simple, you check in whenever you visit a store and scan the items you purchase to build up points and gain rewards. It takes very minimal effort and can actually be quite fun.

Checking In Is So 2011

I’m a big believer that 2011 is the year that mobile tech is going to blow up. With all the tablet PCs being unveiled at CES, news of Verizon getting the iPhone, and all the Android devices Google has planned for this year, people are going to be more mobile than ever.

What does this mean for you? Apps. Developers will be coming out with a lot of great apps this year and, I believe, a good majority of them are going to utilize GPS capabilities. As more and more people become accustomed to checking in at places, more and more businesses will start cutting deals and utilizing these features.

cell phone barcode scan

CheckPoints is a perfect example of this. It offers a fun and easy way to collect rewards at places. Whether you’re at the grocery store, bookstore, or pharmacy you can check in and win cool stuff.

What Is CheckPoints?

phone application scan barcodes

To get started using CheckPoints, just download the app for your iPhone or Android mobile device. Then, open up the app whenever you’re shopping and just tap on the item you want to scan, aim your phone’s camera at the barcode, and you’re done. Each time you scan a featured product you’ll earn points and coins to use in the bonus play area.

phone application scan barcodes

CheckPoints can be used in literally over a million stores to scan featured products with your phone. Rewards you can win include gift cards, airline miles, gadgets, and even donations to charity.

phone application scan barcodes

Every time you scan an item you can also collect bonus points by playing games and instantly winning. This is also a way for users to take advantage of CheckPoints opportunities if you are using, say, an iPod or iPad rather than a phone.

bar scan phone application

Also, you can use the Change Aisle button if you just want to see which items are nearest you in the store that you’re in.

Here’s a very informative YouTube video of exactly how CheckPoints works:

Where can I get CheckPoints?

CheckPoints is currently available for the iPhone and Android devices. For iPhone (or iTouch/iPad), just head over to the App Store and download the app. For Android, you can scan the QR Code below using the cell phone barcode scan scanning app (which you’ll use for CheckPoints too) on your phone.

cell phone barcode scan

I think having the ability to scan any item you come across in a store is a big benefit to users with smart phones, and we’re going to start seeing a lot more creative uses for these types of technologies.

What do you think of CheckPoints?

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New Search Engine Qwiki Launches To The Public [News]

Posted: 26 Jan 2011 07:14 AM PST

Qwiki has finally launched to the public amidst much fanfare, with the daunting task of changing how we perceive and use a search engine. So how is Qwiki different from its current competitors? To sum it up – the search engine’s results are media rich and visually striking.


Rather than be presented with a list of links and text, Qwiki pulls in content from sites like Wikipedia, YouTube, Google and Fotopedia, presenting users with images, videos and narrated text. Each entry is also accompanied by related search items.


After the entry has been displayed, you can share it via Facebook, Email, or Twitter, generate an embed code for your blog, as well as look up additional information on other sites from which the information has been gathered.


Qwiki, according to its founders, aims to be a computer generated fountain of knowledge, but that’s not to say that they’re not interested in contributions from users. If you feel that any given search result is lacking or inaccurate, you can put in your own two cents. Contribute images, videos and improve the text-to-speech quality by highlighting mispronounced words, without having to sign up.


The interface is slick and visually stimulating, and with over 3 millions entries, there is no shortage on the kind of information you’ll find on the site, and the much needed crowd-sourcing will only make it a more powerful tool in the future.

That said, Qwiki has launched to mixed reviews. Some question the necessity of a service like this at all and its ability to take on search engine heavyweights like Google. While each search result is like a mini-documentary on any given topic, the information included barely scratches the surface. On the other hand, it’s received glowing reviews from most of the major tech media sources, already earning itself comparisons to Flipboard and Wikipedia.

If anything is to be said for Qwiki, it’s that it offers an entirely new way to search for information, and how that information is delivered. There is still much work to be done, but for a site in its alpha phase, it’s already pretty impressive, and they’ve just bagged $8 million in funding from investors, including Facebook’s co-founder Eduardo Saverin, YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim and Juniper co-founder Pradeep Sidhu.

What’s your take on Qwiki? Does it have what it takes to compete with Google or is nothing going to drag you away from your dependable search engine? Let us know in the comments.

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